This text explores the mind-body connection and what it means for health. Esther Sternberg provides accounts of the experiments that reveal the physical mechanisms - the nerves, cells and hormones - used by the brain and immune system to communicate with each other. She describes just how stress can make us more susceptible to all types of illness, and how the immune system can alter moods.
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UK Kirkus Review »
In the late 1960s psychiatrist Bob Rose began to study one of the most stressful occupations of all - air traffic controllers. He travelled the length of the USA to gather data on over 400 controllers and discovered that it was psychological variables like feeling alienated at work or abandoned by their employers that predicted most accurately who suffered from problems like high blood pressure. He followed up his sample again in 1993, and found that more than any other physical variable measured in their blood, blood pressure or urine, it was psychological factors measured decades earlier that best predicted the later development of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, alcoholism and depression. It is research like this which establishes vital links between body and mind which, unfortunately, modern Western medicine and practice still glosses over. This is a weakness that perhaps alternative and complementary therapies do not suffer from, and could partly explain why they are so preferred. Sternberg is a senior medical figure in the science of neurimmunology, the interaction between the nervous system and immune systems, and seeks to remedy the lack of medical interest in how the mind can make you ill or well with this straightforward, readable account of the interface between medicine and psychology. Review by DR RAJ PERSAUD Editor's note: Raj Persaud is a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital in London. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Esther M. Sternberg
ESTHER M. STERNBERG, M.D., is Director of the Molecular, Cellular and Behavioral Interactic Neuroscience Program at the [US] National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institutes of Health. She has written over one hundred scientific papers, reviews and book chapters about brain-immune connections, including articles in Scientific American and Nature Medicine.